Warwick is set to play a crucial role in the next step towards the transformation of the UK’s energy sector after the Government confirmed £60m investment for the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA). The investment is backed by a further £120 million from the private sector and Midlands Innovation universities.
ERA is set to become a world-leading hub of energy talent, technology research, development and deployment, based on the internationally renowned academic expertise and industrial heritage of the Midlands. Industry investors include Blueprint, Cofely, Dearman Engines, Highview and Jaguar Land Rover.
The announcement is a milestone for Warwick who will now work in partnership with the five other leading UK universities forming the Midlands Innovation group – Aston University, The University of Birmingham, The University of Leicester, Loughborough University, The University of Nottingham– and the British Geological Survey.
The funding will create new world-class facilities to meet the challenges of developing affordable low-carbon energy and technologies for greater energy efficiency. The initiative will bring together the best in energy research and build upon the Midlands’ extensive industrial base.
ERA’s research will be focused on the complementary Thermal (T-ERA), Integrated Systems (I-ERA) and Geo-Energy (G-ERA) research themes.
At Warwick, WMG are creating a National Low Carbon Mobility Centre, serving the automotive, commercial, off road, marine and rail sectors by the development of enabling technologies in energy storage and energy machines, drives and systems. One example of our expertise in this field is WMG’s national advanced energy storage facility which provides capability to validate new battery chemistry; it enables the rapid characterisation of battery cells, the ability to test up to 1000 Amps, and to expose to extreme vibration, crush and penetration. Sponsored by the UK’s Automotive Council, it is the only one of its kind in the UK. Warwick researchers will also be assisting on a project to deliver smaller heat pumps to replace today’s domestic boilers.
Gordon Waddington, ERA CEO, added:
This announcement by the Government allows us to take the next step to accelerate the transformation of the UK energy sector and invest across the whole of the Midlands. ERA is putting the UK on the global map of energy innovation. The amount of private sector funding is a testament to the fact that this is a critical opportunity for growth and productivity in the UK.”